The Loony Bin is Dismissed

The Loony Bin is Dismissed
The Loony Bin is Dismissed

Andy Martin v. Linda Lingle, et. al.

In the last few weeks, as you may have read, Andy Martin filed a “lawsuit” against the Governor of Hawaii and others, alleging that he and the rest of the U-nited States of America had the right to obtain a copy of Barack Obama’s Certificate of Live Birth.  As expected, on October 22, 2008, the Supreme Court of Hawaii denied this claim.  There are so many different explanations of the memorandum decision that I thought I would just add it here so you can interpret it for yourself.

ORDER  Upon consideration of the petition for a writ of mandamus filed by petitioner Andy Martin and the papers in support, it appears that the issuance by the Department of Health of a certified copy of a vital statistics record to petitioner was not mandatory, but involved the exercise of discretion and judgment. See HRS § 338-18(b) (Supp. 2007) (The department shall disclose vital statistics records to those persons enumerated in HRS § 338-18(b)(1) through (13); otherwise, “[t]he department shall not permit inspection of public health statistics records, or issue a certified copy of any such record or part thereof, unless it is satisfied that the applicant has a direct and tangible interest in the record.”).

Therefore, petitioner is not entitled to mandamus relief against the respondent public officials. See In Re Disciplinary Bd. of Hawaii Supreme Court, 91 Hawai’i 363, 368, 984 P.2d 688, 693 (1999) (Mandamus relief is available to compel an official to perform a duty allegedly owed to an individual only if the individual’s claim is clear and certain, the official’s duty is ministerial and so plainly prescribed as to be free from doubt, and no other remedy is available.); Salling v. Moon, 76 Hawai’i 273, 274 n. 3, 874 P.2d 1098, 1099 n.3 (1994) (“A duty is ministerial where the law prescribes and defines the duty to be performed with such precision and certainty as to leave nothing to the exercise of discretion and judgment.”).

It further appears that the Hawai’i Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of the Circuit Courts of the State of Hawai’i do not provide petitioner with a clear and indisputable right to a telephonic hearing or an expedited hearing in Civil No. 08-1-2147. Scheduling a hearing for November 7, 2008 and requiring petitioner to personally appear at the hearing was within the discretion of the respondent judge and was not a flagrant and manifest abuse of discretion. Therefore, petitioner is not entitled to mandamus relief against the respondent judge. See Kema v. Gaddis, 91 Hawai’i 200, 204-05, 982 P.2d 334, 338-39 (1999) (A writ of mandamus is an extraordinary remedy that will not issue unless the petitioner demonstrates a clear and indisputable right to relief and a lack of alternative means to redress adequately the alleged wrong or obtain the requested action. Such writs are not intended to supersede the legal discretionary authority of the lower courts, nor are they intended to serve as legal remedies in lieu of normal appellate procedures. Where a court has discretion to act, mandamus will not lie to interfere with or control the exercise of that discretion, even when the judge has acted erroneously, unless the judge has exceeded his or her jurisdiction, has committed a flagrant and manifest abuse of discretion, or has refused to act on a subject properly before the court under circumstances in which it has a legal duty to act.). Accordingly, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that the petition for a writ of mandamus is denied.

DATED: Honolulu, Hawai’i, October 22, 2008.

Philip J. Berg v. Barack Obama, et. al.

Andy Martin’s friend, Philip J. Berg, filed a claim against Barack Obama and others, claiming a whole litany of things of why Obama is not eligible to run for president as well as how Barack and the DNC were conspiring together to violate federal law.  On October 24, 2008, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied Berg’s claim in its entirety.  Berg put everything and the kitchen sink into his complaint, so as you might imagine, the decision was long, as it addressed each of Berg’s several points separately.  It reserved about a paragraph or so for each of Berg’s “complaints.”  For the purposes of brevity, I’ve attached the relevant portion of the decision that pretty much sums it all up.  Berg’s claim was denied for two reasons:  1) Berg did not have standing to file a lawsuit and 2) even if Berg did have standing, he failed to state a claim.

A. Lack of Jurisdiction — Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1), a court must grant a motion to dismiss if it lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the case. The party asserting that jurisdiction is proper bears the burden of showing that jurisdiction exists. Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375, 377, 114 S. Ct. 1673, 128 L. Ed. 2d 391 (1994); Packard v. Provident Nat’l Bank, 994 F.2d 1039, 1045 (3d Cir. 1993). A challenge to jurisdiction may be either factual or facial. See CNA v. United States, 535 F.3d 132, 145 (3d Cir. 2008)(citing 5B Charles Alan Wright & Arthur R. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1350, at 147-55 (3d ed. 2004)). Where the challenge is facial, as Obama and the DNC’s is here, courts must take the well-pleaded facts of the complaint as true and must draw all inferences in a manner most favorable to the plaintiff, as with ruling on a motion to dismiss. See Mortensen v. First Fed. Sav. & Loan Ass’n, 549 F.2d 884, 891 (3d Cir. 1977).

B. Failure to State a Claim — When considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), this Court must “accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Pinker v. Roche Holdings Ltd., 292 F.3d 361, 374 n.7 (3d Cir. 2002). However, “a court need not credit a complaint’s ‘bald assertions’ or ‘legal conclusions’ when deciding a motion to dismiss.” Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997) (citations omitted).

I guess it’s now back to the drawing board for both Andy Martin and Philp J. Berg.  I can’t wait to see what they happen to come up with next.